What To Do: St. Patrick’s Day and a day to get happy

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Many St. Patrick’s Day activities were held last weekend and there are more slated for this weekend – including the mandatory pub crawls in Wilmington and many Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Drinking and dining play a big role in Patty’s Day celebrations.

On March 17, the New Castle County Irish Society (1301 South Rodney Street, Wilmington, Delaware,  302-658-8288, www.nccirishsociety.org) will hold its “St. Patrick’s Day Ham & Cabbage Meal” from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. The adult platter is $10 and includes coffee or tea and dessert. The platter for children (ages 8 and under) is $5 and includes dessert but not coffee or tea. The society will also have corn beef sandwiches and ham sandwiches for $4 apiece.

As an added attraction at the holiday meal event, there will be an Irish Dance Program performed by the McAleer School of Dance at 4:30 p.m.

On March 17, the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is hosting a special “Irish Breakfast Buffet” from 7 a.m.-noon at Joanna Furnace (1250 Furnace Road, Geigertown, 610-286-0388,www.haycreek.org).

Phyllis Hummel

The buffet event will also feature live music performed by Phyllis Hummel. She will be singing Irish and Scottish songs — many of which would have been familiar to the Scotch-Irish workers at Joanna Furnace and their families in the local community.

The meal will feature a traditional Irish buffet of pancakes, french toast, county sausage, homemade corned beef hash, bacon, scrapple, creamed chipped beef, scrambled eggs, country-style potatoes, baked oatmeal, fruit, coffee and juice. Tickets are $9.50 for adults and $4.50 for children (ages 5-11).

The Please Touch Museum (Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, 215-581-3181, www.pleasetouchmuseum.org) is celebrating St Patrick’s Day on March 17.

The museum will explore Ireland, step-dancing, folklore and why green is the color to wear on Saint Patrick’s Day.

At a program from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. called “Shades of Green Collage,” guests will be able to create works of art inspired by their visit to the museum. Younger kids can participate in “Tot Spot: G is for Green” in the Fairytale Garden with activities and songs. “Storytime” in Wordsworth Cottage lets visitors listen and travel to Ireland through stories and songs.

The Coyle School of Irish Dance will have performances at noon and 1:30 p.m. The festivities will conclude with “Music and Movement: End of the Day Party” at 4:30 p.m. in Hamilton Hall.

The St. Patrick’s Day activities are included in the price of museum admission which is $19 for children and adults.

Another area museum geared for children will also focus on an imaginary trip to an island location.

The Garden State Discovery Museum: (2040 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, 856-424-1233, www.discoverymuseum.com) is presenting a special program called “Passport to Discovery” on selected weekends now through the end of March.

On March 17, the program will be “Passport to Discovery: Polynesia.” The showcase event will be South Pacific Island Dancers in the museum’s theater at 1 p.m.

“Brunch with the Bunny” will be held on March 18 and the “Discovery Easter Egg Hunt” is set to take place on April 1

Admission to the museum is $13.95 for adults and children (12 months and over) and $12.95 for seniors. Children visiting the museum must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older.

On March 18, the Schuylkill Canal Association will host the “St. Patrick’s Day Hike and Treasure Hunt” in and around Lock 60 (Mont Clare, 610-917-0021, http://www.schuylkillcanal.org).

Hikers are instructed to meet in the parking lot behind the Pickering Creek Inn at 1p.m. and then walk across the bridge over the Schuylkill River and down the towpath to Lock 60.

In the Lock 60 picnic grove and surrounding area, there will be “gold coins” that have been scattered throughout the field for children to gather and turn in for prizes at the Locktender’s house (weather permitting).

Children of all ages can join in with a treasure and scavenger hunt with adult supervision. The hunt is expected to start around 1:40 p.m. To register youngsters for the “Treasure Hunt,” call (610) 917-0021.

Live music will be presented by local musicians with a program featuring both folk songs and Irish tunes. Admission is free. However, donations will gladly be accepted. The hike will be canceled if there is a steady rain.

The Colebrookdale Railroad

The Colebrookdale Railroad (Washington and Third Streets, Boyertown, www.colebrookdalerailroad.com) is running special “St. Patrick’s Day Excursion Trains” on March 16 and 17.

The tourist rail line is serving “Corned Beef and Cabbage” in the dining car. Coffee, hot tea and water is included. Green Beer, Irish Beer, Irish Spirits and Irish Coffee will be available. Trains depart at 6:30 p.m. on March 16 and 2:30 p.m. on March 17.

On March 17 at 10 a.m., there will be a special “St. Patrick’s Day Brunch Excursion Train.” All three excursion rides will last just under two hours.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $23 for children (ages 2-12), $25 for seniors (65 and older) and $5 for toddlers (under 2).

Chadds Ford Art Sale & Show

The 69th Annual Chadds Ford Art Sale & Show (http://cfes.ucfsd.org/artshow/) will be held March 16 and 17 at the Chadds Ford Elementary School. Founded in 1949 by Betsy Wyeth, the popular Chadds Ford Art Sale & Show features works by more than 65 professional artists from the Brandywine Valley and beyond.

Artists showcase a variety of works to satisfy every taste and budget. The “Featured Artist” is Jaclyn Beam and the “Donating Artist” is Kathy Ruck.

The “Opening Night Complimentary Reception & Sale” will be held on March 16 from 7-10 p.m. and feature live music and complimentary hors d’oeuvres from prominent local restaurants and food service businesses. Many of the participating artists will be available to sign or personalize their work.

The “Art Exhibit & Sale” will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on March 17. Special attractions include live music and a raffle drawing at 3 pm. All proceeds support educational enrichment programs at Chadds Ford Elementary School.

Once spring has officially arrived in the Delaware Valley, the area’s event calendar begins come alive with a variety of antiques shows, craft shows and home shows. This weekend, one of the earliest antiques shows in the 2017 season will take place in Chester County.

The Antiques at Kimberton Show will be held on March 17 and 18 at the Kimberton Fire Company Hall (2276 Kimberton Road, Kimberton, 717-431-7322,http://antiquesatkimberton.vpweb.com) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday.

The show will feature more than 65 vetted dealers from all over the Mid-Atlantic region with exhibit booths filling over 10,000 sq. ft. of space. Every dealer is hand-selected to make sure that authentic, quality antiques are always showcased. Visitors will be able to browse and make selections from a wide array of top-quality antiques and collectibles.

The long list of featured categories includes furniture, primitives, art, collectibles, textiles, pottery, glassware and a variety of other items from the past. The show, which has been in existence since the 1960s, is known for its diversity and the willingness of the dealers to discuss the items they are selling.

Tickets are $7 and there is free parking. Additionally, there will be a variety of food available for purchase during show hours.

Not far from where the antiques dealers are gathering this weekend, talented artisans will be setting up shop and selling their wares.

For more than three decades, the nation’s most-talented artisans have personally sold their contemporary crafts and fine art at Sugarloaf Craft Festivals. Rated as one of the top craft experiences in the country, approximately 300,000 visitors attended Sugarloaf Craft Festivals around the states and enjoyed the work of thousands of juried artisans.

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival will visit the area this weekend for a three-day run at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Avenue, Oaks, 800-210-9900, www.sugarloafcrafts.com) from March 16-18.

The well-attended annual event features an amazing array of top-caliber works in a wide variety of categories such as furniture, sculpture, photography, tapestry, musical instruments, jewelry, accessories, bells, quilts, glass, copperware, chair caning, enamels, boxes, pillows and clothing.

The list of craft genres also includes brass items, woodwork, fused glass, hats, blown glass, painted silk, fine arts, weaving, pottery, mixed media, rugs, leather, wind chimes, woodturnings, forged iron, baskets, specialty foods and collectibles.

A full slate of craft demonstrations will be featured at this weekend’s event in categories such as wheel-thrown pottery, paper making, iron forging, broom making, copper spinning, stone sculpting and hand-carved wooden bowls and spoons.

Additionally, the festival offers an ambitious schedule of live musical entertainment. Children’s entertainment will feature costumed storytelling by Carl Odhner and the Middle Earth Studio.

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival will be open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 and are good all three days.

If you’re looking for something fun to do on Tuesday, you have several good options — “Be Happy” on the holiday devoted to happiness, celebrate the first day of spring, get a free Dairy Queen cone or get a free Rita’s water ice.

The International Day of Happiness is March 20 — every year — forever.

The International Day of Happiness was introduced by the General Assembly of the United Nations during 2012 and was celebrated for the first time in 2013. Through seminars and educational tips and tools, the aim is to educate and increase public awareness of the benefits of happiness.

The original idea came from the Kingdom of Bhutan in the Himalayan region of Asia. There, the population is thought by many to be among the happiest in the world due to the holistic approach to life and the amount of importance which is placed on the well-being of people and communities, as much as material wealth.

For everyone, the day is a useful reminder that in general happiness does not necessarily come from buying and consuming, or from being famous or glamorous – but often from friends, family and emotional well-being. Internationally, there are many events and websites in which people may participate.

March 20 has been established as the annual International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority. It is coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries, supported by a partnership of like-minded organizations.

So, when March 20 arrives, smile, share, eat healthily, exercise, be grateful, give back, think positively, spend some time with friends and family, spend some time alone, be mindful, dream, listen to music, say “thank you” and mean it, compete, be charitable. Do what makes you happy – especially if it involves a cool dessert treat.

March 20 is the first day of spring and the day of one of the area’s annual traditions – “Celebrate the First Day of Spring with Free Ice.”

That’s right – a day of free water ice at Rita’s.

On this special day each year, Rita’s is offering every guest a free Italian ice to celebrate arrival the arrival of spring – and the warm “water ice weather” it brings with it to the area.

Also, on March 20, Dairy Queen locations are celebrating the “Fourth Annual Free Cone Day.”

In recognition of the first day of spring, Dairy Queen is offering a free small vanilla soft-serve cone to customers – while supplies last. There is a limit of one cone per customer.

The Afternoon Music Club of Phoenixville (610-933-8696, http://www.afternoonmusicclub.com) is presenting another concert in its 2016-2017 season on March 20 at 1 p.m.

The concert features flautist Cindy Durrell and pianist Silvia Atmajda. The performance will be held at the First United Methodist Church, which is located at 865 South Main Street in Phoenixville.

A brief business meeting of the club follows each program and then refreshments follow the meeting. New members are welcome and will pay half the yearly dues at this season midpoint for the three remaining concerts.

Visitors are always welcome and are requested to pay $8 at the door. A “Visitor” is anyone who is not an invited guest of a member.

Other concerts this season will feature coloratura soprano Alessandra Gabbiannelli and baritone Thaddeus Shirey on April 17 and jazz vocalist Phyllis Chappell on May 15.

Have you ever been to a birthday party for a hippopotamus?

You will be able to answer yes to the question if you visit the Adventure Aquarium (1 Riverside Drive, Camden, New Jersey, 856-365-3300, www.adventureaquarium.com) this weekend.

From March 16-18, the Aquarium is offering an invitation to “Button’s 21st Birthday Weekend.” Visitors are welcome to take part in Button’s St. Patrick’s Day-themed, family-friendly birthday bash. Hippo Haven will turn into hippo party central with decorations and fanfare, and revelers joining in the fun surrounding the birthday girl’s big day.

Button, born at Parque Zoological de Leon in Mexico on March 22, 1997, is the smaller of the aquarium’s two hippos weighing in at just over 3,000 pounds. Her gal pal, 17-year-old Genny, weighing in at over 4,000 pounds, will join in the festivities and celebrate her exhibit mate’s special day right along with her.

Button and Genny will enjoy special, fruit and veggie hippo-friendly birthday cakes each morning to kick off party time.

All weekend, visitors will have the opportunity to watch a variety of enrichment activities, hippo talks, green hippo treats and special hippo birthday wishes – all with a St. Patrick’s Day flair. As the party comes to a close each day, guests can wish happy birthday to Button and a good night to both the girls during Hippo Bedtime.

Admission to the Adventure Aquarium is $29 for adults and $21 for children (ages 2-12). Children under two are admitted free with a paying adult.

Norristown Farm Park

An indoor/outdoor event scheduled for March 20 is “First Day of Spring,” which will start at 1 p.m. at Norristown Farm Park (West Germantown Pike and Barley Sheaf Drive, 2500 Upper Farm Road, Norristown, 610-270-0215, http://www.montcopa.org/874/Norristown-Farm-Park).

Activities begin with a slide show that will feature “Signs of Spring” in both the plant and animal kingdoms. After the indoor portion of the program, park guides will lead visitors on a walk outside to experience the unfolding of a new season in the park

Pre-registration required. Participants are instructed to meet in the salt wing of the barn. The event, which is open to adults and children (age 6 and older), is free.

Now through March 25, Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org). is presenting its “Winter Blues Festival.”

Blue is one of the rarest colors in the plant world and Longwood Gardens honors blue flowers with a special celebration.

The site’s horticulturists have researched, acquired, and grown hundreds of blue-hued blossoms and foliage to adorn the Orangery and Exhibition Hall.

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens is not just celebrating the blues visually. Every Saturday, visitors to Longwood can hear the sounds of the blues when the venue presents a series of blues artists performing live in the Conservatory.

Free concerts will be performed by Stevie & the Bluescasters on March 17 and 24 (2-5 p.m., both days). The schedule of ticketed live entertainment features Rory Block on March 29.

If you’re looking for a brief break from winter, remember that it is always spring in Longwood’s conservatory.

Every year in February and March, Longwood celebrates the one of the world’s most popular plants – the orchid. The festive celebration of the ultra-popular plant is called “Orchid Extravaganza” — an annual event that is running now through March 25.

The largest family of flowering plants in the world is the orchid — a flower that is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful, delicate and graceful flowers in the world. The Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew list over 20,000 accepted species with about 800 new species added each year. Additionally, horticulturists have more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars.

The celebration of the orchid species features thousands of orchid blooms along with a variety of displays and special exhibits throughout its four-acre conservatory. “Orchid Extravaganza” will also feature stunning displays of orchids in planting beds, containers and innovative exhibits.

Approximately 5,000 colorful orchids hang from baskets, create inspiring arrangements and adorn unique forms throughout “Orchid Extravaganza.”

Another attraction is “OrKid Day,” which is scheduled for March 17. Each “OrKid Day” includes a kids’ performance, craft sessions and the “Orchid Sorting Game.”

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $23 for adults, $20 for seniors and $12 for students.

On March 18, the Hindu Temple of Delaware (760 Yorklyn Road, Hockessin, Delaware, 302-235-7020, www.hindutemplede.com) is celebrating “Chandramana Ugadi” beginning at 8:30 a.m. The event is billed as “Authentic Ugadi Pachadi Prasadam.”

Ugadi is celebrated as the first day of the year by people of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Ugadi is New Year’s Day for the people of the Telugu and Kannada communities in India.

On this day new Samvatsara, which is cycle of sixty years, starts. All sixty Samvatsara are identified by unique name. Ugadi is celebrated as Gudi Padwa by the people of Maharashtra. Both Ugadi and Gudi Padwa are celebrated on the same day.
Ugadi is New Year according to Luni-Solar calendar. Luni-Solar calendars consider the position of the Moon and the position of the Sun to divide the year into months and days. The counter-part of Luni-Solar calendar is Solar calendar which considers only position of the Sun to divide the year into months and days.

Because of that Hindu New Year is celebrated twice in the year with different names and at two different times of the year. The Hindu New Year based on Solar calendar is known as Puthanduin Tamil Nadu, Bihu in Assam, Vaisakhi in Punjab, Pana Sankranti in Orissa and Naba Barsha in West Bengal.

At 1 p.m., there will be an “Ugadi Cultural Program” with more than 300 adults and children showcasing their talents as a tribute to Late Sridevi. At 7:30 p.m., the event closes with “Panchanga Sravanam,” which features an astrological look ahead to the upcoming year.

On March 17, 18, 24, 25, and 31, Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, www.chaddsford.com) is holding its annual “Adult Easter Egg Hunt.”

Based on the premise that kids shouldn’t be the only ones to have fun at Easter, the winery is inviting visitors to embrace their “inner child” and partake in an exciting “Adults Only” Easter Egg Hunt.

Participants will scour the Winery grounds in search of hidden Easter eggs containing a wide array of treats such as Easter candy, bottles of wine, tickets to future Chaddsford Winery events, free wine tastings, gifts, coupons towards wine purchases, vouchers for Chaddsford gear (scarves, tee shirts), and glasses of wine.

The hunts will be held at 10 a.m., noon, 2 and 4 p.m. and all participants are guaranteed to win at least one prize.

On March 18 and 25, the Delaware Museum of Natural History (4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-658-9111, www.delmnh.org) is hosting its annual “EGGstravaganza Breakfast & Egg Hunt.”

The museum offers this invitation — Enjoy a morning at the Museum and we’ll fix a pancake breakfast for the whole family. After a wonderful meal, watch your children delight as they hunt for treat-filled eggs in our egg hunt through our gardens.

Visitors to the museum are advised to dress accordingly for an outdoor egg hunt. In the event of inclement weather, the egg hunt will be moved inside.

Tickets are $14 and pre-registration is required.

There are times when the Easter Bunny wants to chill a little bit. So, instead of hopping around, he rides a train. This weekend, the big holiday rabbit will be riding trains all around the area.

The New Hope and Ivyland Railroad (32 West Bridge Street, New Hope, 215-862-2332, www.newhoperailroad.com) is running its annual Easter Bunny Express from March 17-April 1 with departures at 11 a.m., noon, 1,2,3 and 4 p.m. each day.

The Easter Bunny is going to ride onboard the train where he will visit with each child, hand out special treats and pose for pictures. Coach tickets are $33.99 for adults, $31.99 for children (ages 12-plus) and $9.99 for toddlers (under 2).

The train ride departs from and returns to the New Hope Train Station. Riders can take in the sights of early spring as the Easter Bunny visits with all of the children handing out special candy treats and posing for photos taken by the railroad staff.

The West Chester Railroad (610-430-2233, www.westchesterrr.net) is running its Easter Bunny Express on March 24 and 25with trains at noon and 2 p.m. each day.

On the 90-minute round trip along the beautiful Chester Creek from West Chester to the historic Glen Mills village, the Easter Bunny will be on board handing out treats to all passengers.

During the 20-minute stop at the historic Glen Mills station there will be plenty of opportunities for riders to take photos with the Easter Bunny. Additionally, Greg Wright and Friends will be playing live music and singing favorite Easter songs.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for children (ages 2-12) and $8 for toddlers.

The Easter Bunny will also be down in Delaware for trips on the Wilmington and Western Railroad (Greenbank Station, 2201 Newport-Gap Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-998-1930,www.wwrr.com) on March 24, 25, 30 and 31.

On the special trains, the big bunny with the big ears will visit with all passengers and pose for pictures. Departure times are 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. and fares are $19 for adults, $18 for seniors (ages 60 and older) and $17 for children (ages 2-12).

As an added attraction, every child on the excursion trains will receive a special treat from the Easter Bunny.

At the Strasburg Rail Road (Rt. 741 East, Strasburg, 717-687-7522, www.strasburgrailroad.com), the special Easter Bunny Train will be chugging down the tracks on March 30 and 31 and April 1 with departures starting at 11 a.m. each day.

The Easter Bunny will meet and greet all the kids on each train and have a special treat for all of them. Coach fares are $19 for adults and $13 for children (ages 2-11).

The Colebrookdale Railroad (Washington and Third Streets, Boyertown, www.colebrookdalerailroad.com) is running its “Easter Bunny Train” on March 18, 24, 25, 30 and 31 and April 1.

The Bunny will be bringing gifts for all children. There will also be an Easter Egg Hunt right on board the train for all children up to 12 years of age.

Trains depart at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day. Tickets are $35 for adults, $28 for children (ages 2-12), $30 for seniors (65 and older) and $5 for toddlers (under 2).

The Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad (717-944-4435, www.mhrailroad.com) will be running its Easter Bunny Express on March 24, 25, 30 and 31 at 1:30 p.m. each day.

Fares for the ride are $17 (ages 12 and older), $13 (ages 2-11) and $4 (under age 2 and on lap). The Easter Bunny will have a special present for all kid riders.

Highland Orchards (1000 Marshallton-Thorndale Road, West Chester, www.highlandorchards.net) is presenting “Hayrides to Easter Bunny” on March 24, 25, 28, 29, 30 and 31 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. each day.

Participants can enjoy a leisurely hayride to visit the Easter Bunny, hear a story about spring and receive an egg with a coupon for a treat to be redeemed back in the Market.

The event takes about half an hour and wagons leave about every half hour. No reservation is required, and tickets can be purchased in the Farm Market on the day or in advance. The cost is $7 per person.

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